Sunday, June 23, 2013

Before I die

This weekend we had a visitor, a young friend from Lithuania who will start her last year of college in the fall. It was wonderful to see her again after two years, and to talk to her about her studies, our common interests literature and languages, and her plans for the future. I was fascinated by the multitude of options open to her many interests and talents. At the same time I found myself in a position that I am absolutely not used to be in. I had my son late, he is still in primary school, and certainly does not think his mother is a valid authority to be consulted for advice. Nina, however, kept asking me for my opinion about various aspects of her life, current and possibly  coming up, and sometimes it felt a bit as if I was being seen as a fountain of wisdom on life issues. Looking back on many developments in my own life, I certainly never had considered myself an authority on well-thought-through-life’s-decisions. Things more or less happened, and many things in my life I believe I might have decided differently had I only had a real clue of what I wanted or was heading for.
After she had left, I thought some more about all those options she has, and despite my fascination with all her talents, and the fact that she is giving the future path of her life much more serious thought than I had ever done at her age, I also felt a bit of a relief that I am past that age, and past the kinds of decisions that have to be faced in one’s early twenties.
Then I checked the blogs I follow, amongst them India Flint’s blog "not all those who wander are lost"Through her set-up of “you might also like this” I happened on her entry from March; which I had missed back then, titled “Before I die”, and took the liberty to borrow that title from her for this post.
India Flint shows a picture of a blackboard on which you can write in chalk some of the things you still want to do during that period of life still left to you – and somehow that fit in with my thoughts after the conversations with Nina.
Relieved at not being early-twenties anymore with all the possibilites that need to be decided on, I nevertheless am well aware of the fact that statistics say I have passed almost two thirds of my lifespan. Good enough a reason to try to figure out what are the important things one really wants to have done before hitting the grave. Not utopian things like “Negotiated World Peace” or “Put an End to Climate Change”, although these would be on top of the list.

Neither did I spend a whole lot of time on this thought experiment, nor did I get all philosophical about it – but apart from living long enough to see my son out of school and set onto a good path in his life, I think I would like to live by the sea (or at least on some kind of body of water), and I would like to spend more time traveling: I want to see the Galapagos Islands (and several other groups of islands), and I want to return to New Zealand, preferrably by bike. I want to find a teacher to learn to play the bandoneon that I have had for almost one year now, and improve my piano playing. And, of course, work on and improve my art. So after these weighty and important thoughts, I took my son to the pool, played cards with him afterwards, took him to bed after reading a few chapters from “Charlotte’s Web” to him, and then worked on my latest quilt top, Play of Lines XXXIV. More about that soon.

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